Central New York, Community, Politics

College Democrats and Republicans face-off in first ever campus debate

Tune in to find out how the debate went down.

By Saniya More SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) —Syracuse University’s Maxwell Auditorium was filled with cheers, snickers, applause and boos at SU’s first-ever College Republicans versus College Democrats debate on Wednesday night.

The event was free to the public and was organized by student representatives from the two parties. Grant Reeher, the director of the Campbell Public Affairs Institute and a professor of political science at SU, moderated the debate.

The event started off with a bang when Reeher opened up the discussion with a few words:

“We just want to remind you: this isn’t the presidential debate so the expectations for decorum are a little bit higher,” he said, to much applause and laughter.

Representatives from both sides debated on four national topics: women’s issues, health care, immigration and gun control.

For sophomore Donika Hysenbelli, it was an emotional night.

“We as Syracuse University, as a student body, should be a little bit more conscious about topics that involve personal lives in that auditorium. And I got a little bit angry at some parties,” she said with a laugh, shortly after the event.

The debate was lively, with crowd reaction so high moderator Reeher had to repeatedly step in and ask for good conduct.

SU junior Nathan Shearn was excited when he first heard about the debate, given the country’s recent political situation.

“For most of it, I felt myself getting really heated, getting into the moment. It was a tense environment for much of it,” he said after the event. “I guess in a way it was productive, but I think at the same time, it also really emphasized and amplified the kind of divides that are not only on this campus politically, but in our country.”

The debate is available to watch online.